First, let’s get the basics out of the way. I am a wimp. I should’ve been a good, strong, ‘Murican and toughed it out without complaint. Sickness is no excuse for not getting the job done. Only weaklings get sick. Only selfish weaklings expect sympathy. Blah, blah blah. I know the drill.
Too bad. I’m writing about it anyway. The plague stole two weeks from me. Putting pixel to page and documenting the experience is a way of reclaiming at least a little of that lost productivity. All those uninterested in this topic may now return to your regularly-scheduled ignoring me.
Paul had been sick over the weekend, spending a miserable two days napping, sneezing, and eating homemade chicken soup. By Tuesday I felt achy and listless, so I made some preparations.
I am no stranger to bouts of kleenex-massacring sniffly-sneezles. My immune system regards rhinoviruses with all the enthusiasm of a champion Pokemon trainer: gotta catch ’em ALL! There’s a system in place: buy comfort foods and medication, make sure my comfiest clothes are clean, and brace myself for a week of keeping symptoms medicated into non-contagious manageability while occasionally checking my pacifier/thermometer to confirm that it’s just another cold.
Only, it wasn’t.
By dinnertime Tuesday my pacifier delivered the surprising news that I had a fever. I don’t do fevers. I had bronchitis for three months with no fever. I had pneumonia with no fever. Nevertheless, the proof was there in the digital display.
My temp hit 100º by midnight, and I developed a lovely deep-chest cough that brought up noxious chunks of foul-tasting phlegm. My sinuses, not to be left out, decided to clog solid. My skin became so sensitive that flannel felt like burlap. My eyes ached. All these symptoms laughed off the effects of my normal cold & flu medicines. The fever peaked Wednesday night at 102 and didn’t reliably drop below 99.5 until the following Monday.
Fever, body aches, cough, congestion, lethargy. Flu? Maybe. Probably. No, I don’t get flu shots. Egg allergies. As it turns out, this year’s flu test has been throwing false negatives all over the place, so even if I’d been tested it wouldn’t be conclusive.
No, I didn’t go to the doctor. Why drag myself into the cold, spread my miserable contagion all over the place and waste everyone’s time getting tested just so I could hear that I needed to sleep, drink lots of liquids, and stay warm? I knew that already.
I slept, a lot, I drank non-caffeinated tea, and I forced myself to eat something at least twice a day. (Food tasted disgusting. Liquids tasted disgusting. Everything made me nauseous.) The fever went down by Saturday, and by the following Monday I felt well enough to go to work. My performance indicated that my brain was clearly still full of sludge. Tuesday I had so much more energy that I cleaned the filthy house, did the laundry I’d ignored the previous week and cleaned the bathroom so I could soak in a hot, hot, hot tub. It took all day. I had to stop twice while vacuuming.
And then I slept all day Wednesday and most of Thursday. I still wake myself up coughing, food tastes odd and the world smells WEIRD, but I’m on the mend. Friday I got some writing & editing done, and Saturday I went to see a movie. (I Frankenstein. Gargoyles, ridiculous fight scenes and absolutely zero plot. Perfect for a brain just off cold medication…) Then I had my first full meal in ten days and indulged in a glass of wine.
Sunday I even shoveled snow, went out and bought groceries and mostly felt like a normal human being again. The nasal congestion has stuck around, as has the nausea, until…well, now. I’ve lost 9 pounds. Not water weight, not dehydration. I weighed in at 129 when I went for my tetanus shot on 1/6. I tipped the scale at 120 on 1/26. This is my excuse for snacking on toast with lots of butter and having cupcakes for breakfast.
That is my tale of plague survival.
Now that I know no one reads this (my math proof for this: no comments = no readers) I feel a bit liberated. I can write about whatever the hell I want out here on the interwebz, and it’ll be just like a diary, only I don’t have to worry about losing a key or forgetting a password. It’s like screaming into a hole in the ground. All the catharsis of public confession without any messy consequences.